This is that moment, the “Eureka” moment if you will where the business idea came to you like a bolt of lightning! It might have been taking the dog for a walk, or while collecting your dry cleaning.
For me, I was sitting on a British Airways flight from Gatwick to LAX, Appletizer in hand, feet dangling off the seat (I’m 5 ft nothing!), while looking over the soft white fluffy clouds, the idea of Storyteller came to me!
The story of my business started at this moment – the origin. This part of the story is the most important and a powerful tool. It works as a relationship -building exercise, and employs people to get on board with the notion of your business.
If you haven’t already, identify yours and use it in your marketing.
We live in a world where acts of terror are now nearly the norm, diseases like cancer are ever more prevalent and some heartless mega corporations make billions with very little thought for anything other than the bottom line.
Because of the latter, consumers are leaning toward the smaller, more boutique businesses which offer humility and honesty in a time with very little of either.
The local independents are beckoning us more than ever, but there is one more thing us little companies need to do to win over peoples hearts and do good at the same time..
Consider what your business’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is? Could you donate to your local church, or a charity which is close to your heart? It not only gives you peace of mind that you are doing something positive with your company but also makes you an appealing choice for new customers.
Now, I must go and find my charity..
It’s the year 2017 and no matter what line of business you are in, you are up against thew dreaded competition.
While others are fighting in the Google SEO boxing ring; some take a side step and attract new customers through the art of being different.
Through identifying your Unique Selling Point, only then can you build a strong marketing strategy from which to boost sales and appeal to the masses.
So, right now I task you to sit in a quiet space with a pencil (not pen!) and paper and consider what these are for your company. It could be your commitment to customer service, or your quality of product, hell it could even be that intangible essence that is your brand, whatever it is, and pick just one, write it down and then you have your building block for marketing your business. And remember, once you’ve got your USP- DO DO DIFFERENT.
On a recent social media training session with my B & B client I was met with confusion as to why she should Instagram a picture of her Wisteria in full bloom …
I explained, when people are searching on the internet for Luxury B & B’s, they want to see, smell, feel and aspire to live in that very way, even for just one night!
The wisteria was beautiful, but it’s what the twining climber, spreading itself so generously over the mullioned windows symbolised more than anything else.
The point is this .. if you are selling an aspirational product or service you must convey that luxury and quality to your potential customer; from the 1,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets to the freshly squeezed orange juice prepared with love and care each and every morning.
This place, truly was enchanting, from Hobbes, the golden retriever who greeted me with a nuzzle to the knee, all the way through to the hobbit-like doorway which invited me in. In fact I just might book to stay there to enjoy that feeling once more!
There has over the last few months been a real tidal change when it comes to marketing… If you hark back some twenty years; brands shouted what they were to their customers and customers listened. Nowadays; most brands are much more open to being told by their customers what their brand is; with a few exceptions such as Apple who have a closed-door policy, because they can.
This trend has now reached smaller brands; our customers are feeling empowered through becoming little publishers and as such are more forthcoming with their brand feedback; telling us what we are as opposed to the other way round.
This is termed as Earned Content as opposed to Owned or Paid Content; and makes for a much more engaging and interesting brand story for you.
So here are my tips to help encourage forthcoming earned content:
- Incentivise customers to publish pictures/ videos or copy through competitions on social media.
- Remember to prompt them to tag you with your handle or a particular hashtag you might be using e.g #bestinthebusiness
- Applaud them for their marketing
- Enjoy the knock on effect!
Go have some fun with your customers and build your story together!
Unless you’ve been taking refuge under a rock in recent months; you cannot fail to have missed the extraordinary adoration that is building (present continuous) for the affable Ed Sheeran.
Now, I am going to take to Science with this one .. bear with me.
What is the formula to this marvel and as such can we then replicate this across other areas of life such as business?
Unlikely + Likeable + Talented + Contravening = Heroic
Popular culture has never met with such a refreshing amalgamation of goodness; and as such the British public are willing for him to do well. Couple this with his charity efforts and super songs, and well, you’ve got the perfect recipe.
Could we as SME’s learn from Ed and foster this “Sheeranism” ? The answer is yes. The world is a tough place, it’s harder to find a ‘nice’ person in business, and I hate using the word nice, but it is true. If we all took on a bit of his humility we could earn more clients and even engender a more loyal client culture through replicating this mentality.
What do you think ? All thoughts welcome..
You don’t think twice about having a dental check up or an eye check up, yet when it comes to your brand, when was the last time you carried out a health check?
People say “life is short” – I would be inclined to disagree with this fact .. life is long but time moves quickly, and as such your brand can end up drifting in the abyss, without so much as a “Woahh there!” and suddenly you’ve got a bit of a monster on your hands.
It’s easy to let the daily “itty bitty” tasks take your attention away from the strategic foresight needed for SME’s to survive in this post-brexit climate, but it is now, before 2017 (which we are told will be as difficult financially as that of World War 2) that we must reflect and reboot.
Who are we? What’s important to us? What do we want people to feel when they hear/ see our brand? How are we different from our competitors? Our we relevant?
Go befriend that monster and tame it!
Where has this year gone? I hear you exclaim.. and as Christmas knocks on our door once more, it is time to capitalise on the buzz word that is #Christmas.
The following are a few marketing pointers for you lovely smaller businesses so that you can reap what you sow at this point in the calendar year.
- Thank your customers. No matter what your industry, this action of kindness can only be met with a smile. Whether you send them toffee or just an email, it will encourage them to keep their business with you.
- If you are in the retail industry make use of hashtags on social media. Use tags like #perfectgift #giftideas #presentideas #christmasgifts as people will be searching under these terms in order to find that special something.
- Warm your marketing up with less salesy messages such as ‘Happy Christmas’ or ‘Hello December’.
- Are you in retail? Don’t forget #blackfriday – this year it is on Friday 25th November. Remember to guide your customer from as many different places as possible to your website, such as online platforms like blogs and social media; as well as in store flyers etc.
Go, flee, market your brand and prosper!
I’m going to be an aunty in February of next year, delightful! This got me thinking about the similarities of becoming a parent creating your own brand for the very first time. It is true that nothing can prepare you on how to look after that precious new-born bundle. Similarly, when you create your baby there is little advice on how to keep your brand safe. Having recently gone through this myself in creating Storyteller, here are some helpful tips on how you can protect your empire.
- Who’s property is it anyway? When working with a designer on any design work, always go in to that relationship completely transparent and ensure an agreement has been reached as to who owns what, such as your logo. The designer by rights owns this unless you say so.. If you decide to sell your business down the line, they could have rights to some of the profits if that logo goes with the new owner.
- Trademarks vs. Registrations? It is not well-known that only a trademark (TM) covers your rights to that brand. Some brands will scare off poachers by using (R) for Registered, this doesn’t exist therefore they have no rights as yet to that brand/ logo/ emblem.
- Who’s watching? Do keep an eye on social media – type your company name in to twitter for example to see who is talking about your brand – this is called “Earned Media”. The saying “Any press is good press” isn’t always necessarily true, so check your brand isn’t being used in any way other than positively.
- Laws of Association. Beware who you associate your brand to. For example, before you retweet another companies tweet, consider whether they hold similar values to your brand, are they a likeable brand and will it add value to your profile if you RT them?
I hope the above is helpful to you. It is simply to remind you that what you have created is one of a kind and it is you who must nurture and brand guardian this entity until it is ready to fly the nest! Happy parenting!
Love, The Storyteller x